A Message from the Regional Administrator
Yolanda Garcia Olivarez
Happy Valentine's Day to the more than 3.3 million small business owners located throughout the South Central Region. We love your creativity, your perseverance and your enthusiasm. We are inspired by your vision, your strength and your power to create dreams and build neighborhoods and communities every day. You are special to us for several reasons:
Small businesses represent close to 99% of all employers in the Region and create about 64% of all the net new jobs. The latest stats from the SBA Office of Advocacy reports:
Arkansas—Small firms total 235,501 and represent 96.7% of all employers.
Louisiana—Small firms total 392,621 and represent 97.4% of all employers.
N. Mexico--Small firms total 152,770 and represent 95.8% of all employers.
Oklahoma—Small firms total 325,725 and represent 97.2% of all employers.
Texas—Small firms total 2.2 million and represent 98.7% of all employers. Small businesses create more than 50 percent of the American nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
Small patenting firms produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
Small businesses account for 98 percent of firms exporting goods an 33 percent of exporting value.
Latest SBA stats show:
- Women-owned firms number about 7.8 million
- African-American-owned firms number 1.9 million
- Asian-owned firms number 1.6 million
- Hispanic-American-owned firms number 2.3 million
- Native American/Islander-owned firms number .3 million
This Valentine’s Day we want to recognize some of the entrepreneurs in our Region who have chosen businesses they love and that spread love and cheer to their customers not just today, but every day.
San Antonio District small business owners create arrangements you can eat!
Rosalva Guerra and Claudia Villarreal
Rosalva Guerra and Claudia Villarreal decided it was time to do something fun. They met with Small Business Development Certified Business Advisor Yael Rodriguez at the Texas A&M International University Small Business Development Center who guided them through the process of opening an Edible Arrangements Franchise store in Laredo, Texas. Mrs. Guerra has a master’s degree in Public Administration and she is currently a realtor. Ms. Villarreal has a degree in art and psychology. Both ladies are graduates of the SBDC’s Business Management Certificate Program.
Mr. Rodriguez helped the clients to obtain licenses and permits and to complete a business plan that qualified them for a commercial loan from Zapata National Bank.
Today, Mrs. Guerra & Ms. Villarreal are able offer fresh premium fruit bouquets to make any occasion special for their customers.
Candy is dandy for a Houston District chocolate lover’s dream business
Gina Williams and Goya Qualls Photo courtesy of Eric Kleiman Photography
Goya Qualls was laid off after a 24-year career in the insurance industry. Instead of looking down, she looked within and remembered something her mother always said: “You should do what you love.” Jokingly, she answered herself, “I love chocolate.”
After much research, Qualls discovered the idea of selling personalized chocolates and pitched the idea to her friend Gina Williams, a retired disabled veteran who had recently moved from Louisiana to Houston after Hurricane Katrina. Gina was immediately on board. Leaving the chocolate making process to the experts, Qualls and Williams focused on creating graphics and designs to put on the chocolate. During their research, they learned about SCORE, a resource partner of the SBA, who helped them apply for an SBA loan. Read more.
Lawana Smith is lovin' her West Texas District L'Oven Bakery business
After gaining over 25 years’ experience in the bakery industry, Lawana Smith decided to hang up her jet-setting corporate life for something more meaningful and close to home. Lawana invested in herself by starting her own business where she could share her innovative and artistic ideas.
She purchased an existing retail bakery in Odessa, Texas and sought advice on creating a business plan and finding funding through guidance from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Small Business Development Center. Smith was approved for a $25,000 SBA Community Express Loan from Borrego Springs Bank in Florida. Today, she has created six jobs and offers unique cookie arrangements, cookie baskets, gourmet cookies, cookie cakes, wedding cakes and specialized cakes at L’Oven Expressions Bakery. Smith's website, Lovenexpressions.com, is one of the few bakeries in the Permian Basin to offer nationwide online services. Additionally, Smith is in the process of establishing new proprietary recipes specifically for L’Oven.
Dallas/Fort Worth District small business owners offer flowers, candy to brighten your day
Jose Luis and Cristina Cuevas owners of LCC Sunflowers, Inc. provides floral and gift service to the Dallas Metro area. They offer an array of flowers, cut, arranged and/or flowering plants, as well as tropical plants, Gourmet Baskets, Brand Name Gift Baskets (Harry London, Godiva, Popcorn Factory, Fannie May, etc.) for all occasions, whether personal or corporate. The company delivers locally and can place orders nationally or world-wide. Both Mexican-born, the couple was able to relocate their commercial/retail floral shop from a rented location in an industrial area with no retail sales to a high visibility stand-alone store thanks to the funds provided by an SBA 504 Loan through North Texas Certified Development Company. The company has 13 full time employees and expects to hire between 5-10 new employees over the next two years. Visit their website at llcsunflowers.com.